Newsom Administration Plans to Gut Home and Community Based Services, Use Savings to Fund Large Increases for Substandard Nursing Homes

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Does California have the money to maintain its vital programs that are aimed at keeping people who need long term care at home and out of nursing homes?

It turns out it does, but the Administration has decided to terminate, gut and slash those programs in order to further enrich unscrupulous nursing home operators who are using the pandemic as cover for their latest money grab at the Capitol.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) released a legislative proposal that would give nursing home operators large rate increases in every year through 2024, with projected new general fund costs of $92.8 million in the coming fiscal year and hundreds of millions of dollars in additional new costs in years to come. The legislation is the product of months-long backroom dealing with the nursing home industry that will reauthorize the Medi-Cal reimbursement system for skilled nursing facilities known as AB 1629.

The new windfall for nursing home operators would come on top of a 10 percent increase the Newsom Administration awarded them earlier this month and a $4.9 billion bailout from the Trump Administration that is being distributed to nursing homes nationwide.

Californians who need long term care are desperate to stay out of nursing homes, where more than 1,500 residents have already died from COVID-19. Yet the Administration is proposing to terminate the very programs, including CBAS and MSSP, and slash others, such as IHSS, that help them stay at home.

Nursing homes have been ground zero for coronavirus outbreaks in California, where the pandemic has exposed terrible conditions in many facilities. In the name of protecting vulnerable residents, the Administration has engaged in a pattern of actions that serve the interests of California’s worst nursing home operators.

It engaged in a weeks-long coverup of nursing homes with deadly outbreaks, ordered nursing home inspectors to collaborate with nursing facilities, stopped enforcing care standards, waived critical staffing requirements, delayed testing, ordered lockdowns that removed watchdogs and essential support visitors from facilities, and allowed dangerous nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients. It is also still considering operators’ outrageous request for blanket immunity that would give them a free pass to commit elder abuse.

The latest proposals to gut home care programs and enrich nursing home operators are more of the same.

You can help by contacting your State Senator, Assembly Member and the key legislative budget leaders listed below. Urge them to reject this misguided proposal, freeze nursing home rates, and use the substantial savings to maintain CBAS, MSSP, IHHS and other programs that are helping persons needing long term care stay out of deadly nursing homes.

Read CANHR’s May 24, 2020 letter to the Senate Budget Subcommittee 3
Read CANHR’s May 25, 2020 letter to the Assembly Budget Committee
Read CANHR’s report, Bad Deal, Bad Care: It’s Time to Stop Dumping Money Into California’s Nursing Home Chains
Read Budget Analysis, courtesy of Justice in Aging
Read the Full Budget Summary

Sample message

Re: Oppose proposals to increase nursing home rates and terminate home care programs

I urge you to oppose the Governor’s budget proposals to grant large rate increases to nursing home operators and decimate programs that help people obtain needed long-term care services at home or through community-based services.

It is incomprehensible that California is planning to use precious funds at this time to enrich unscrupulous nursing home operators instead of preserving services that are a lifeline to so many of its most vulnerable citizens.

There is a better way. California can afford to preserve vital services for Californians who need long term care by freezing nursing home rates and using the substantial savings to maintain CBAS, MSSP, IHHS and other programs that help people stay out of deadly nursing homes.

Forcing people into extraordinarily dangerous nursing homes will be a death sentence for many. Please help stop the inhumane madness!

Where to send your Comments:

ASSEMBLY

Please send your written comments to the California State Assembly Committee on Budget, Sub Committee 1 via this email: BudgetSub1@asm.ca.gov. Please note that your email will be considered a public comment and may be read into the record or reprinted.

SENATE

Please send your written comments to the Senate Budget Committee on Health and Human Services via this email: sbud.committee@senate.ca.gov Please note that your email will be considered a public comment and may be read into the record or reprinted.

FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE

To find and contact your own district Representative, use THIS FORM.

Key Members to Contact:

Senator Holly Mitchell, (D-LA), Budget Chair
Capitol Office: Phone (916) 651-4030 Fax (916) 651-4930
If the Senator represents your District, you can contact her through this form:
https://sd30.senate.ca.gov/e-mail-holly

Senator Toni Atkins, President Pro Temp  (D-San Diego)
Capitol Office: Phone (916) 651-4039 Fax (916) 651-4939
If the Senator represents your District, you can contact her through this form:
https://sd39.senate.ca.gov/contact

Chair, Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-31 Fresno)
Capitol Office: Phone (916) 319-2031 Fax (916) 319-2131
If the Assemblymember represents your District, you can contact him through this form: https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD31

Senator Richard Pan, Chair, Budget Committee on Health & Human Services
Capitol Office: Phone (916) 651-4006 Fax (916) 651-4906
If the Senator represents your District, you can contact him through this form:
https://sd06.senate.ca.gov/contact/email

Speaker:  Assemblymember Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the Assembly
Capitol Office: Phone (916) 319-2063 Fax (916) 319-2163
If the Assemblymember represents your District, you can contact him through this form: https://speaker.asmdc.org/contact-anthony

Assemblymember Philip Y Ting
Capitol Office: Phone (916) 319-2019 Fax: (916) 319-2119
If the Assemblymember represents your District, you can contact him through this form: https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD19&inframe=Y

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